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K-12 Education

Historic Panel of State Leaders Recommend Strategies for Michigan Educational Results

“Each and every Michigan child deserves access to the opportunities they need to achieve their aspirations, no matter where they live or how much money their family earns.”  

DETROIT – A diverse panel of state business, education, civic and philanthropic leaders today unveiled their vision for providing stronger learning opportunities to all Michigan children, and outlined a set of phase one recommendations for making that vision a reality.

Today’s announcement kicks off an agenda for change to begin taking shape during 2020.

“As a state, we’ve been focused on picking winners and losers in the education system. We must turn our intentions to producing winners and winners, making targeted and equitable investments so all Michigan children can achieve their highest aspirations,” said Tonya Allen, Launch Michigan co-chair and president & CEO of The Skillman Foundation.

Launch Michigan team members have chosen three simple core priorities to underlie all its work: (i) preparing graduates, (ii) ensuring rapid improvement, and (iii) closing equity gaps. 

“These priorities are going to give us a solid framework for change,” said Launch Michigan co-chair Paula Herbart, who serves as president of the Michigan Education Association. “From here, we can develop a strong, phased-in approach that will deliver results for all our state’s learners over time.”

During the first phase of its work, Launch Michigan plans to focus on boosting elementary literacy and providing all children with the great teachers they deserve.

“We’re introducing a new ‘Equity in Literacy’ fund this year, which will provide additional support to early readers in grades K–3,” said co-chair Doug Rothwell, who also serves as president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “The fund will help tackle Michigan’s literacy challenges while providing additional support to students living in poverty, as well as those who are geographically isolated.”

The Equity in Literacy fund will be accompanied by district-driven strategic planning requirements, to ensure dollars are being allocated to areas of greatest need and are tied to evidence-based research and practice.

“Together, we have come to recognize the essential link between funding and accountability,” Herbart said. “It’s important to ensure all dollars spent are maximized in ways that can demonstrate measurable growth in student achievement.”

Rothwell said the additional funding is essential to boost student results over time, particularly for children with greater needs.

“As a coalition, we support a student-centered, weighted funding formula that allocates resources to children based on their unique needs and circumstances,” Rothwell said. “We can’t hope to create a world-class educational system while we continue to underinvest in Michigan’s schools.”

Today’s Launch Michigan recommendations are supported by findings from a March 2019 survey of 17,000 Michigan educators, which identified additional literacy resources as a critical gap in their schools. To access the full Launch Michigan recommendations, click here.

The Skillman Foundation

A voice for children since 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy that serves as a fierce champion of Detroit children. The Foundation works to ensure Detroit youth achieve their highest aspirations by strengthening K-12 public education, afterschool learning opportunities, and college and career pathways.

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